NUMBER ONE ON THE ROW
Nelson, the Prince of Wales, David Beckham, David Niven…a galaxy of star portraits line the walls of Gieves & Hawkes grand stairwell at their imposing Number 1 Savile Row headquarters, testimony to an illustrious clientele over the years.
With a history that dates back to 1785, and a modern business that boasts 21 shops throughout the UK plus major licencing operations in the Far East, it would be fair to say that Gieves (as it is often referred to) is the most high profile of Savile Row tailors.
Bespoke tailoring is necessarily a small part of these activities but nonetheless the lynchpin, marketing director Julian Boow maintains. “In all our shops, we make sure there is someone capable of measuring a customer." This applies also to their outlets in Hong Kong and China, where measurements are taken and sent back to the London h.q.
But if bespoke remains the foundation of the business, its ready-to-wear is an increasingly important global brand, and the latest collection, just launched for Summer, has drawn heavily on the company’s heritage.
The ‘Archive’ collection ranges from swashbuckling Navy greatcoats (left) , oiled wool seaman’s sweaters, and classic reefers and pea jackets to slick formal business suits, cashmere jackets and trim covert coats. And there is a capsule collection of limited edition evening items, which are hand made on site, giving a luxury Savile Row finish.
Shawl collars are important on the chunky knitwear designs and also featured on a sleek tailored jacket, the collar edge stitched down, seen as a casual option with jeans or as a dressy style for evening. There’s an eye-catching silk screen printed suede jacket – pity about the waist seam – a wonderful unlined pea coat in a double faced cashmere that will retail around £2,000, and a stunning chalk-striped grey flannel suit (see above) that is a dead ringer of a 1940s demob style (for young readers, servicemen received a suit on demobilisation).
The coat on the left is a classic country covert style, as referred to on the preceding pages, impeccably transformed for town wear, in a melange thornproof wool with burgundy top collar.
The designs featured in this collection may well provide inspiration for some bespoke customers. And they may also be tempted by a new collection of jewellery items – vintage watches, cuff links, rings and a silver cigar box engraved with the Gieves & Hawkes crown emblem. Go to www.gievesand hawkes.com
BEIJING THROUGH DARK GLASSES
Even for those whose fastest pace is a sedate jog in the park, these Sprint glasses designed by Puma for Olympic athletes are guaranteed to stay in place, featuring rubber trim on the sides to ensure grip.
Top sportswear name Puma are official outfitters for a number of teams and athletes at the Beijing Games and have designed these specs to go with the outfits. Sprint, above, is available in black or grey and Twist, bottom, is a unisex style, in black or yellow, and also, say Puma, built for speed. There are other styles in the Beijing Collection, priced at £75.